I have spent the last week or so wondering if I am motivated enough to quit my job and attempt to make a living from writing. I still haven’t come up with a definitive answer, mainly because although I like the idea of being a full-time writer, I’m also drawn to a regular pay check. I dream of being able to spend my day at home, in front of the computer, in my pyjamas. Or pacing the floor, holding a cup of coffee while contemplating my next manuscript. Or trolling through the boxes of letters, photographs and other bits and pieces I brought with me from my parent’s house, because I just know there are stories hidden in them.
Except if I quit my job I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford a floor to pace on, or the coffee, or pretty much anything barring bread and water. Perhaps even bread would be out of the question as I only eat gluten free bread and it is expensive. There have been many writers who have struggled financially, but I have to be honest with myself and admit I have no intention of joining them. I like where I live and I enjoy a decent wine with my meals.
So, does my desire for a roof over my head, a floor to pace and food to eat mean I should cling to my day job and throw my full time writing dreams out the proverbial window. Probably. Does it mean I should give up writing? Definitely not.
What it does mean is self-discipline. I have to be tough on myself and force myself to sit in front of the computer even when I would rather watch the latest Scandi Noir thriller, or meet friends for a drink, or even spend time soaking up what little summer sun we have had. The housework needs to be put on hold. The list of books I want to read must grow longer. The shopping I would like to do will have to wait.
In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “The one quality which sets one man apart from another – the key which lifts one to every aspiration while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity – is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual brightness – it is self-discipline. With self-discipline, all things are possible. Without it, even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream.”
So, bring on a serve of self-discipline! Perhaps I can wash it down with a decent glass of red.